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Nets Stay Alive, Force Game 6

Brook Lopez led the Brooklyn Nets to a victory Monday night, extending the side's season by at least one game.

Brook Lopez led the Brooklyn Nets to a victory Monday night, extending the side’s season by at least one game.

Basketball remains alive in its first season in Brooklyn, at least for now.

The Brooklyn Nets staved off playoff elimination, defeating the Chicago Bulls 110-91 at Barclays Center on Monday night. The Nets now trail the Bulls 3-2 heading into Thursday’s Game 6.

The victory was huge for a Nets team favored to advance to the Eastern Conference semifinals ahead of the postseason. Now the team will look to find a way to bring at least one more game to Brooklyn this season.

Game 5 Recap

Having blown a 14-point lead during Game 4, then being forced to three installments of overtime only to lose, Brooklyn looked a lot sharper in Game 5.

Brook Lopez led all scorers with 28 points, pulling down 10 rebounds (six offensive) in the process, while Deron Williams shook off some questionable performances in the series with a 23-point, 11-assist outing. Solid performances from Reggie Evans, Andre Blatch, and Kris Humphries saw the Nets out rebound the Bulls by a 44-33 knock, including 17-11 on the offensive glass. Those extra possessions proved pivotal.

After his explosive 34-point performance in Game 4, Nate Robinson spelled the injured Kirk Hinrich (calf) in Chicago’s starting lineup, pacing the side with 20 points and eight assists in 44 minutes of play. His heroics weren’t enough to drag the Bulls to victory though.

All five Chicago starters finished in double figures in terms of points, but the Bulls’ bench was outscored 32-20.

Entering the fourth quarter with a 77-73 lead, the Nets took a hold of the game, outscoring the Bulls 33-18 in the final frame. It was the sort of stranglehold the side has failed to take since the opening game.

Following Game 4’s monumental win, the Bulls – playing without Hinrich and Derrick Rose (knee) and fielding a hobbled Joakim Noah – had a margin of error to play with, unlike the Nets. Tom Thibodeau’s side will be happy to take this one back to the Windy City.

The victory marked the first time Nets’ head coach P.J. Carlesimo had guided a team to two playoff wins in a season since 1996. Carlesimo will now hope to guide his team to a series victory, joining only eight NBA teams to have advanced when trailing 3-1.

Facing a Chicago Bulls side that is 12-0 in series in which it takes a 3-1 lead, the Nets’ stay of execution may be short-lived. When beginning the playoffs as the No. 5 seed, Chicago has never failed to advance to the conference semifinals stage.

However, the Nets are 7-0 in playoff series in which they start with home court advantage. That will be enough for the team to cling to when Thursday rolls around.

Deron Williams and Nate Robinson will square-off again Thursday night as the Nets and Bulls contest Game 6.

Deron Williams and Nate Robinson will square-off again Thursday night as the Nets and Bulls contest Game 6.

Betting Implications

With the 19-point victory, Brooklyn covered the spread (-6.5) for the third time this series. The Nets have covered the spread in all three odd-numbered games, while Chicago has covered in even-numbered games.

Brooklyn moves to 42-43-2 ATS all-told this season, including a 24-18-1 ATS record at Barclays Center and an 18-25-1 ATS record on the road. The Nets are 22-24-2 ATS when playing as the favorite and 20-19-0 ATS as the underdog.

Chicago is now 38-49-0 ATS on the season, including a 14-29-0 ATS record at the United Center and a 24-20-0 ATS tally on the road. The Bulls have gone 16-30-0 ATS as the favorite and 22-19-0 ATS when starting as the underdog.

Game 5 saw the total (180.5) go over for the second straight game and third time in the series.

According to Bovada, Chicago currently has odds of 28/1 to win the Eastern Conference and 50/1 to win an NBA championship. Brooklyn is 50/1 to win the East and 100/1 to lift the Larry O’Brien trophy.

When the series opened, Brooklyn was the favorite to win the series in seven games. Bettors taking the 11/4 odds then will be hoping for two more wins from the Nets. Meanwhile, Chicago was offered odds of 7/2 to win in six games and 19/4 to win in seven. Bettors taking those odds will be in for a nerve-racking few days.

The series returns to Chicago for Game 6 on Thursday night. Tip-off is scheduled for 8:00 PM ET at the United Center.

Brooklyn opens as the marginal underdog (+1.5).



GAME 1: Chicago 89, Brooklyn 106

GAME 2: Chicago 90, Brooklyn 82

GAME 3: Brooklyn 76, Chicago 79

GAME 4: Brooklyn 134, Chicago 142

GAME 5: Chicago 91, Brooklyn 110 (Chicago leads series 3-2)

GAME 6: Brooklyn at Chicago (Thu, May 2, 8:00 PM ET)

GAME 7: Chicago at Brooklyn (Sat, May 4, TBC) *

*If necessary

Series winner meets Miami in Eastern Conference semifinals

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